This week, I had the pleasure of being part of the launch of the Inter-Parliamentary Task Force to Combat Online Antisemitism, an extremely important initiative as we witness growing antisemitism on social media platforms and the failure of these platforms to take serious action against hate speech.
An unfortunate common thread amid times of upheaval and crisis has historically been the increasing spread of antisemitism. The Task Force - initiated by Michal Cotler-Wunsh, Member of Knesset-Israel, and whose members include myself, Canadian MPs Anthony Housefather and Marty Morantz as well as politicians in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia - could not come at a more important time, as the pandemic continues to unfold and antisemitism continues to grow in our society. The Task Force's goals include raising awareness about the consequences of antisemitism and holding platforms accountable.
We have seen some positive strides among social media platforms to combat hate speech. In August, for example, TikTok declared a "zero tolerance" policy on accounts that have been linked to instances of antisemitism, followed by the EU announcing that the platform will be joining its voluntary code of conduct to combat online hate speech. It’s clear, however, that much more work needs to be done. The success of movements like the 48-hour Twitter boycott that started in the U.K. and spread to North America back in July in response to the platform's failure to immediately respond to a rapper's series of antisemitic tweets - ultimately resulting in Twitter deciding to permanently ban the rapper - shows that it's up to all of us to take a stand against antisemitism and other forms of hate online and urge these platforms to take this issue seriously.
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center looks forward to engaging with the Task Force and continuing our work to counter and prevent antisemitism online and in our communities.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach,